Group Souls

A Short Discussion on the Nature of Group Souls

First – all living things possess soul by virtue of being alive.

        Souls are derived from Spirit, and expressed through mind, or intellect. In higher orders of beings, the mind functions through the cerebellum; lower order organisms have a less evolved brain, or none at all. An amoeba or protozoan does not think, yet maintains a meaning and existence for what it does. The DNA molecule is at the foundation of all life; it contains the blueprint. A virus is little more than DNA in a sheath, but even a virus will work to overcome a victim's defenses and cause illness or death in the struggle to survive. All living things are born, and pass away. If these lower entities did not have some primordial sentience, they would be on a par with rocks.

        In general, group souls refer to the animal species, insect groups, and plants. Every human being possesses a soul unique to the individual. They are a higher order of entity because of their enhanced cerebrum, although the soul is further evolved for a purpose very few are aware of. Within the vast scheme of things, it should not be forgotten that humans followed the same path of development from a tiny cell that first formed three and a half billion years ago to the present.

        In the plant kingdom, all species from flowers to forests participate in mutual soul-ness relative to their own kind. A flower does not have any mental machinery to think with; their awareness is limited by an association with their group. All roses participate in rose-ness, and reproduce according to their nature. The same with a forest of Aspens, they are different from pine trees, and even pine trees differ from each other, such as Piñion from Spruce. There is a very subtle difference, bound by - and to - their uniqueness expressed from within their individual group.

        People that deny existence of the soul stand with the flowers, they do not know who why or what they are.

        Some insect species exhibit an extraordinary group intelligence. The honey bee divides itself into workers, drones, and queens. Their colony or hive is constructed with an architectural design as if from a blueprint. When a source of food is found, a bee signals its whereabouts by doing a special dance flight. It has been observed that when offered food in the form of sugar, the bees will procure a drop of water to saturate the sugar into a liquid they can make use of. One could say that it is just instinct, but that is a form of instruction they act upon to survive and live their lives.

        There is a species of ant living in Africa with brains about the size of a grain of sand. Instead of eyes, they respond to pheromones to guide them in their tasks. Their social structure is well organized, and a model of efficiency. After scavenging an area clear of their food supply, which are mostly other bugs, they must move their colony to a new area. Scouts are sent out, and when a decent site is found the entire group including the queen relocate to build a new home, often with their own bodies forming the necessary structures. There is a collective intelligence that choreographs the entire movement. Every ant has its role to play, and duties to perform. They work in perfect harmony to insure the welfare of the colony.

        A widely diverse panoply of living beings each sharing their own group soul has inhabited this world long before humans took a step higher branching away from their anthropoid relatives. Sentience evolves slowly coalescing from group souls to individual souls in the long struggle through time, losing nothing of their own unique nature. The human story of life itself is enacted and condensed in nine months from conception to birth in the development of a foetus: Intelligence manifesting in a world of process.

        Many people have been amazed watching large schools of small fish as hundreds of them shift in perfect synchronization as they swim. They move as a single entity, instantaneously. They do not think individually, but as a unit of mentation. A single sentient thought drives them all collectively.

        Another entirely different species that exhibits similar behavior are birds, usually a large number of small flocks moving rhythmically within the larger group. In one observation, a flight of many dozens suddenly lit on the top of a Juniper tree with no indication they would do this. There was no hesitation, and no other birds were leading the way. It was as if one bird was telling the rest of the flight to land on that particular tree. Just as strangely, after a few moments they all leapt into the air simultaneously and were on their way.

        Once again, it can be claimed that instinct drives them to do what they do, and there is nothing unusual about that. Instinct is a mental matrix insuring survival. It comes natural to individual species living and sharing a group soul through subtle adaptations over many generations.

        It is self-centered and egotistical for humans to think only they have a soul. Were individuals keen enough to witness their history through the evolution of their own species, they would understand and behold a reverence for all living things. Especially among their own kind would they see each other as brothers and sisters, living in peace and harmony.

Background Thoughts

        The statement that all living things possess soul by virtue of being alive presupposes that there is such a thing as a soul. If this is accepted as a given, then there must be a more fundamental understanding of that basic concept.

        Souls are derived from and through Spirit. Spirit is universal and represents the ontological foundation of a universe. It is often referred to as the fifth element, or as the ancients called it the aether or quintessence. Its qualities include sentience, mind, thought, and manifests as intelligence without itself being intelligent. The philosopher Plotinus called it "unknowable." Spirit endows matter with life that evolves into sentient creatures bestowing intelligence upon more highly advanced entities. Hence, all living things possess a soul unique to their individual nature.

                From Sentient Universe–Third Hypostasis:

        "Form unites with substance as Spirit shapes an image of itself in the generation of living things. The laws governing the physical world must bind the indwelling power of Spirit while manifest in physical form, but only dependent in terms of how the building blocks of matter are put together structurally, not that it is hampered in fulfilling its purpose in the design of a natural world. As Spirit endows matter at the simplest and most basic level, living forms rise from this universal power. Each primal being partakes of the manifestation of living Soul at the Universal level, while spiritual evolution channels and branches through physical evolution rising into more complex organic forms. Universal Soul takes on individuality as living entities evolve into higher sentient beings. Spirit as Mind carries with it the intelligence empowering living things, and bestows upon them its image, apt to the fullness of their capacity to express it."

        Plotinus taught that there is an innate driving force in soul that strives to reach higher levels of Spiritual consciousness, for him that is the soul's goal in seeking union with the One, represented by the sun above while merging with the source below as a spark of life. Microcosms mirroring the macrocosm. That driving force is built-in from the very birth of the universe, and is ultimately the reason why there is a universe. There is a purpose inherent throughout the cosmos stepping down to the stars in galaxies, and then to solar systems, culminating in the birth of sentient beings in this system within the nursery that is the planet Earth.

                From Sentient Universe–Exegesis:

        "Every living tree in the forest may be thought as a spiritual entity, but not every tree can be said to possess an individual soul, yet each partakes of life given through Spirit. Within the plant realm, we might think of the living forest itself as a spiritual entity rather than the individual trees. Spirit takes on a greater individuality within the animal kingdom, but is still not quite capable of holding on to soul as distinct and separate. All the various species might be thought of as having a group soul driven by instinct and the need to survive. Intelligence marks the evolution of Spirit as sentient beings rise to ever higher levels of mental development. Souls finally break free from their origin in Universality and come to Know themselves; thus, humanity as unique Spiritual Beings attain to an awareness of their potential god-hood."

        "In contemplating its source, the One, the World Soul generates the Ideal plan into physical actuality. All the elements and material for life are here, they just need to be acted upon, and the laws of physics guide the act. Our sense of time is fixed by the rotation and orbital path of the Earth around the sun. Matter has formed as building blocks through laws that dictate what is possible to what is actual, such as water, air, earth, and fire. How and what living forms are to become is pretty much an experiment, although there is a guiding principle inherent within the process that goes way back in time. It began as a vague undetermined plan that can now take a definite direction and become fully realized. Creation is an act in progress, although universes come and go, as all things do, the process appears to never end."

        And why does it never end?

                From Sentient Universe–The Ultimate Legacy:

        "Life is the spiritual vehicle for evolving Soul in a universe that completes the cycle of star formation, and returns life in the process we call creation. It is a profound realization to think that souls are bound-up in cosmic processes; processes leading to the building of structures that perpetuate life, mind, and soul throughout the universe; seeds of an Idea sown in cosmic fields of stardust, to be born again."

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